In those days Hezekiah became ill and was at the point of death. The prophet Isaiah son of Amoz went to him and said, “This is what the Lord says: Put your house in order, because you are going to die; you will not recover.” Hezekiah turned his face to the wall and prayed to the Lord , “Remember, Lord , how I have walked before you faithfully and with wholehearted devotion and have done what is good in your eyes.” And Hezekiah wept bitterly. Then the word of the Lord came to Isaiah: “Go and tell Hezekiah, ‘This is what the Lord , the God of your father David, says: I have heard your prayer and seen your tears; I will add fifteen years to your life. And I will deliver you and this city from the hand of the king of Assyria. I will defend this city. – Isaiah 38:1-6
This passage completes the part of Isaiah that is a “rerun” of the account in 2 Kings. When I looked back on this passage in 2 Kings it seems I missed it in my “net” capturing water references. The water reference is actually tears that Hezekiah wept so one could argue that this is not strictly a water reference. Either way, I will float this stretch now.
In many ways, Hezekiah reminds me of other flawed followers like Job, Moses, and David. I consider myself a flawed follower too, so I am in good company. It seems Hezekiah’s flaw was not leading His people in trusting God. Hezekiah’s feels like he has led a good life. He reminds God that he has “walked before you faithfully and with wholehearted devotion and have done what is good in your eyes.” This is somewhat reminiscent of parts of the book of Job where Job pleads with God amidst the wave upon wave he was experiencing. Apparently God is looking for something more than just looking good in His eyes.
Hezekiah bears his soul to God by shedding tears, samples of his soul, when he hears that he is going to die. I am not sure what was going on in Hezekiah’s heart and soul that made him weep. Was he lamenting the loss of his life here on earth? Was he disappointed with himself and the ways that he had failed to lead while following God? Was he simply afraid of crossing over into the unknown that death represents?
I don’t have any good answers to these questions, but I am sure when I approach my own crossing over I will likely have similar questions. Here at the end of Hezekiah’s life God gives him extra time to learn how to trust Him. God adds 15 years to his life and agrees to defend Jerusalem from the King of Assyria. In a sense God was agreeing to defend Hezekiah’s earthly vessel from the slow war that we all lose in the end — death.
The take home message for me in this passage is that I need to make sure that I am leading by following and pouring out my soul along the way. When I get to the end of my life I don’t want to feel like I need 15 more years to accomplish what God has set before me.
Prayer: God help me to faithfully follow You and accomplish the tasks You have for me so that when it is time to come home I am ready and eager to leave this earth.